Homeowner's DIY Plumbing Tools and Gadgets
Must Have DIY Plumbing Tools and Gadgets
As homeowners, we have had to deal with some clogged drains, clogged toilet bowl, cracked toilet tank, leaky and broken bathroom and kitchen faucets, leaking water supply lines, and stuck garbage disposer, to name a few. We were able to fix or remedy most of these plumbing problems and situations with some basic skills, knowledge, willingness and determination, investment in proper tools and gadgets, as well as with the aid of You Tube tutorials or demonstration videos. There are jobs best reserve for licensed plumbers and one should be wise enough to know when it's time to call for professional help. However, we created this lens to help homeowners or aspiring Do-It-Yourself (DIY) individuals who want to save money and do their own self-help repair. One or two calls to a plumber will be enough to invest in a selection of DIY plumbing tools and gadgets.
Photo/Picture Credit: MorgueFile by Clarita
Would you like to do your own Self-Help (DIY) home repairs?
Toilet Auger - Unclog Your Toilet Bowl
Let's face it, there will be times when your toilet bowl will be clogged up especially if you have more than one bathroom. May be someone used too much tissue, disposed paper towels or sanitary napkins in the bowl, or drop something in there that causes the clog. So what do you do?
The toilet auger is a handy tool if you're trying to unclog a clogged up toilet bowl. If you tried using the trusted old plunger and it still doesn't work, it's time to buy a toilet auger at your local Home Depot, Lowe's or hardware store. Or you can buy from Amazon and store it in the garage for those eventual clogs. There are many different types,, sizes or lengths, however I recommend buying higher quality one that won't rust.
I recommend using a disposable latex or rubber gloves when using the toilet auger. Ensure you clean the auger with disinfectant or multipurpose cleaner , rinse completely, and dry for future use. Do not use anything with Chlorox as this will cause the metal to rust.
How to Clear a Toilet Clog using a Closet Auger
Garbage Disposer Wrench
If you use your family uses the kitchen sink garbage disposer regularly, you'll probably encounter times when it is jammed or stuck up. The broom handle is not an effective way to clear the jam. Most causes are trapped plastic or sandwich bags, rag, fish bones, or may be broken glass. The first step should be to reset the switch at the bottom of the garbage disposer unit, turn on the switch, and listen for weird noises. Next try the garbage disposer wrench as pictured or buy an allen wrench set and get the proper size one. Move the wrench clockwise and counter-clockwise until you can free up the disposal unit. You may have to look inside with a flashlight to see if something was caught in there. If it's plastic or rag, unplug the disposal unit from the outlet inside the kitchen cabinet. Then try to pull the plastic or rag with your hand or a pair of pliers. Once the disposal unit is cleared up of whatever got stuck in there, re-plug the unit back to the electrical outlet and turn the switch on. You may have to depress the reset switch at the bottom of the garbage disposer unit if you didn't do it in the first place.
Unjam Your Disposal
Basin Wrench, Regular or Telescoping
If you plan on replacing your kitchen or bathroom faucet, the basin wrench is a must have plumbing tool as normally there isn't much space underneath the sink to use regular pliers or wrenches. Regular pliers and wrenches are also not big or wide enough for most nuts, fittings, or joints. I recommend buying the telescoping basin wrench in order to get some length adjustment. Spending a few extra bucks would go a long way in avoiding some frustration and difficulty in using the tool to remove or tighten nuts, fittings, joints, or water supply lines.
How to Use a Basin Wrench
Adjustable Wrench or Set
Having a set of adjustable wrenches will give you flexibility to loosen and tighten a variety of nuts, fittings, and water supply lines.
How to Fix a Toilet - Fill Valve Replacement
Grip Lock or Joint Pliers and Set
Regular pliers and adjustable wrenches are just not big or wide enough for some plumbing work. You'll need some Grip Lock pliers or Joint pliers to loosen, remove, or tighten pipe fittings and joints. Buying a set will give you flexibility in choosing the correct size plier for the job.
How to Replace a Leaky Shower Spout and Diverter Valve
Using Allen Wrench Set and Pipe Wrench
Our shower spout and diverter valve has been leaking and I finally had some time to work on it over the Columbus Day holiday. Shower spouts and diverter valves generally come in two types--one is the threaded model and the other one is the slip-on model. If there is a hole and/or an allen screw at the bottom, the spout is a slip-on model. If it doesn't have the allen screw, then it is a threaded model. Our old Kohler spout happens to be a slip-on model.
After getting my bag of my allen wrench set, I found the correct size the fits and loosen the allen screw. I made sure to close the drain beforehand so that in the event I drop something, it would not go in the drain. I then pulled off the spout and took it as a sample at the nearby Lowe's Store. I was able to find a suitable Chrome substitute thought not the White or brushed nickel model I was looking for. With the new one on hand, I cleaned the pipe with a fine grit sandpaper to ensure there would be no burrs to damage the seals. I put a little bit of shampoo on the pipe as a lubricant prior to installing the new spout. I tightened the allen screw and then when everything was secured, tested the operation. After determining there was no leak, I sealed the new spout with bathroom caulk/sealer.
If you happen to have the threaded model, you'll need a pipe wrench or Grip Lock pliers, screwdriver, teflon tape, and a rag. You can watch the following You Tube tutorial before proceeding to ensure you have an idea what to do.
1. Using the rag and the pipe wrench, grip the spout and turn counter-clockwise. You can also use a screwdriver on the spout to turn counter-clockwise. If you are replacing the spout, then you don't really care if you damage the old one.
2. If you have the new replacement threaded spout on hand, then you're almost ready for the installation.
3. Remove any old teflon tape and wrap new teflon tape clockwise. This will prevent any unwanted leak.
4. Install the new spout by threading it clockwise by hand until it sits flush on the tile. If you need to use the pipe wrench, ensure you wrap the new spout with a tower or rag to ensure you don't scratch or damage it.
5. Test the operation and check for leak.
6. Once OK, seal the new spout with bathroom caulk or sealer.
How to Repair Shower Spout Leak or Replace Shower Spout and Diverter Valve
Drain Cleaning Tools
Drain Cleaning Tools are a must for cleaning or unclogging bathroom sink or shower drains. For tougher jobs, a drain snake tool may be necessary.
Cobra Products 00400 Zip-It Drain Cleaning Tool, 12-Pack #00412BL
Cobra Products 83250 1/4-Inch-by-25-Foot Metal Drain Clearing Drum Auger
How to Unclog a Drain Using a Snake Auger
How to clean out a sink drain
Other Home Plumbing Repair Essentials
Use teflon tape to seal pipe threads and fittings.
Use the plumbers putty to seal gaps in kitchen and bathroom faucets.
Kitchen and Bathroom Gadgets
If you want to save from costly plumbing repairs, you can buy some kitchen and bathroom gadgets that will prevent clogged drains.
The Tub Mesh Strainer can catch hair, lint, soap, paper, small toys and bottle caps.
The hair strainer and drain protector will keep your shower drain unclogged and flowing smoothly.
The kitchen drain strainer will prevent the kitchen drain from clogging up or the garbage disposal unit from getting stuck from unwanted debris.